MANY people dread the winter months - when the days are shorter, the air is colder and somehow your jeans become that little bit more snug.
However, the festive season doesn't need to be synonymous with weight gain.
Clinical dietitian Leanne Ward has shared six simple tricks to speed up weight loss before Christmas to make sure you still fit into your winter glad rags.
Leanne, from Queensland, Australia, emphasises that it's all about getting your portion sizes right and not fearing carbs.
She says: "The first thing that's important to remember is that fat loss andweight loss are really different.
"Many people lose a large amount of weight, say three to five kilos, in the first week and think that's really good - but this is often water or muscle weight and not true fat loss."
Instead, Leanne urges slimmers to make it their goal to maintain muscle mass while only losing weight from your fat stores.
Speaking on her podcast, Leanne Ward Nutrition, she added: "Healthy eating is a long-term gain, and the slower you lose fat stores, the more likely they are to stay lost."
With this in mind, here, she takes us through her top tips to maximise weight loss this winter...
Leanne emphasises the importance of incorporating healthy unsaturated fats like nuts, avocado and salmon into your daily diet.
These fats are an important part of a healthy diet, and help reduce the risk of heart disease and lower cholesterol levels.
She says:"Unsaturated fats have been proven to decrease inflammation and are important for active individuals because exercise can be a stress on the body."
Unsaturated fats have been proven to decrease inflammation and are important for active individuals because exercise can be a stress on the body
Despite this, Leanne saysit's worth being mindful of just how much fat you add to your plate and snacks, as it's a very energy-dense food source.
She adds: "I like to add a thumb-sized portion of unsaturated fat to my meals and snacks throughout the day.
"If you're going to eat a whole avocado along with feta and eggs at breakfast, you can easily gain weight despite it being through healthy foods."
They're often deemed the enemy when it comes to weight loss but it seems as though carbs actually have an unnecessary rep.
Our bodies need carbs to function, in fact when it comes to long-term sustainable weight loss, evidence suggests carbs may indeed be your friend.
Leanne says: "Schedule your carbs to around your workout and use them to fuel your training.
BEST PORTION SIZES
PROTEIN - try to aim for proteins to cover around a quarter of your plate at every meal - and the same goes for snacks
CARBS - aim for another quarter of your plate, and opt for carby snacks before exercise
VEGGIES - half your plate needs to be covered in different veg, or salad
UNSATURATED FAT - try to include a thumb-size amount in every meal
"The body uses carbohydrates as the easiest fuel source, so why would you eat fat or protein before a workout and make your body have to work harder?"
It comes following new research from Slimming World has found that low-carb diets are "damaging the nations health" by confusing dieters about the important role carbs play in nutrition.
It may seem a bit contradictory, but one of thebest ways to lose water weight is to actually drink more water.
That's because if you're constantly dehydrated, your body tends to retain more water in an attempt to prevent its water levels getting too low.
Water also boosts your metabolism, cleanses your body of waste and acts as an appetite suppressant, experts say.
When it comes to the amount of water you should be drinking, Leanne says: "Drink one to two glasses with every meal and snack for optimum hydration."
You can usually use your urine colour as an indicator of hydration - if it's light yellow or fairly clear then you're well hydrated.
When it's dark yellow or amber then you need to be drinking more water.
How often do you spend quite a bit of time making your dinner, only to wolf it down in five minutes?
When you eat fast, your belly can't register how full it is - so you go back for second helpings or puddings when actually, you've eaten enough already.
Leanne recommends slowing down and really taking the time to chew every mouthful, so you'll give your body a chance to register how much it's taken on.
Leanne says: "Try chewing slowly and finish every mouthful before taking the next. Don't just shovel food in."
Cravings are not true hunger, so learn to differentiate between the two
She also said it's sometimes worth waiting until you're hungry to eat, as you don't have to avoid hunger entirely.
She adds: "Cravings are not true hunger, so learn to differentiate between the two."
If you think you're full, you don't have to finish everything on your plate. Instead, wait for 10-20 minutes, have a glass of water and go back only if you certainly are.
"Try going back for veggies," Leanne said.
"If you're going back for garlic bread, the chances are you don't actually need it."
Body-builders and gym fanatics yap on about protein all the time, but what you might not know is how vital it is to split your intake throughout the day.
"Many of us tend to get enough protein at lunch and dinner, but we fail to get enough of it at breakfast and in our snacks," Leanne said.
"Protein is especially important at breakfast, as if you don't get enough, you're likely to overeat carbs and cr**py foods later on because you won't feel satisfied."
Leanne pointed out that research has shown that an "even spread" of protein throughout the day is best for fat loss, while eating too much at one meal isn't actually helpful.
"Aim for 25-30 grams of protein at every meal and snack," she said.
This equates to about a quarter of a plate of protein, which should never be "back-ended" at the end of a day.
It sounds simple but Leanne has emphasised just how important it is to get enough fruit and veg in your daily diet.
"A serve of vegetables is 75 grams, which is about a cup of salad leaves or half a cup of cooked, non-starchy vegetables," she said.
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Starchy vegetables such as corn, potatoes and sweet potatoes do not count here, because they are carbohydrates.
Leanne urges slimmers to have at least half a plate of veg at meal-times with foods such as broccoli, spinach, cabbage and zucchini.
And you should also not fear the sugar or fructose in fruit - as Leanne said "you are never going to get fat from eating fruit".
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